Senate Democrats

Reid Statement On Passing Of Lady Bird Johnson

Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the floor of the U.S. Senate: 

“If you look inside my desk right here on the Senate floor, you will see the names of past Democratic Leaders carved within it.  One of those names is ‘Johnson—Texas.’  That legend from the Lone Star State – Lyndon Johnson – was a Majority Leader of the Senate, a Vice-President and, of course, the 36th President of the United States. 

“But just as important, he was married to a remarkable woman.  Today, our country has lost Lady Bird Johnson, and I join my colleagues and all Americans in tribute to her.

“I did not have the good fortune to know Lady Bird Johnson.  But I am told by those who did that if you were to look up the term ‘lady’ in the dictionary, there you would find her picture.  But you didn’t have to know Mrs. Johnson personally to admire her for the causes she championed.  And I have my own special appreciation for Mrs. Johnson, because I have some idea of what my wife, Landra, puts up with married to the Majority Leader. 

“It takes unusual poise to live the life of a Senate spouse, much less a First Lady, particularly one who served during such challenging and extraordinary times.  Mrs. Johnson didn’t ask for the role of First Lady, but she embraced that role with grace.

“As First Lady, she was instrumental in the Highway Beautification Act – which came to be known as ‘Lady Bird’s Bill’ – and so many other initiatives that enhanced our natural world.  She was a great champion for children and programs like Head Start.  And later in life, her passion continued, most notably in her work opening the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center just outside of Austin, Texas, where she will lie before reaching her final resting place at the Johnson family ranch in Stonewall.

“I can think of no better tribute to Lady Bird Johnson than to close with her own words.  She once said:  ‘Some may wonder why I chose wildflowers when there are hunger and unemployment and the big bomb in the world. Well, I, for one, think we will survive, and I hope that along the way we can keep alive our experience with the flowering earth. For the bounty of nature is also one of the deep needs of man.’

“My thoughts and warm feelings are with her two daughters, Lynda and Luci, their husbands, Chuck (our former colleague) and Ian, and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved with all her heart.”